Police: Two men arrested on human trafficking, prostitution charges operated out of Cherry Hill, other locations
The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office said on Tuesday that Kenneth Crowell, 34, and Barry “Bear” Schiff, 50, were arrested over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Two men were arrested over Thanksgiving weekend for coercing six women into a forced servitude as prostitutes in a human trafficking ring that operated in Cherry Hill as well as locations in Lancaster, Montgomery, Philadelphia and York counties from 2014 until October 2017.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office said Kenneth Crowell, 34, and Barry “Bear” Schiff, 50, were arrested on charges that included trafficking in individuals, corrupt organizations, involuntary servitude, conspiracy, possession with intent to deliver, prostitution and related offenses. Crowell was taken into custody by authorities outside Chicago over the holiday weekend, and Schiff, currently incarcerated in York County, was arrested as well.
“This is a horrible case where women were lured into prostitution by the false promise of easy money,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “When the victims tried to leave, these criminals used violence and threats of violence to keep them working as prostitutes against their will. Law enforcement collaboration and the use of a statewide investigating grand jury built this case. We will use every tool at our disposal to prosecute these kinds of human trafficking cases.”
According to the grand jury presentment, two of the victims “worked” for Crowell and Schiff in Cherry Hill. A woman identified as victim no. 2 in the presentment testified that she first met Crowell and Schiff at the Extended State hotel in Cherry Hill and later “worked” for the pair at the Residence Inn in Cherry Hill. She testified before the grand jury that she needed money to fuel her addiction and began working for Crowell and Schiff believing they ran an escort service, not a prostitution ring. She testified she rarely slept and was sent in an Uber to buy large amounts of heroin for Schiff multiple times.
A woman identified as victim no. 3 also “worked” for Crowell and Schiff out of the Residence Inn in Cherry Hill. She testified Schiff told the women his name was “Frank Luchese” and impersonated a mobster to intimidate them. She said she joined what she believed was an escort service run by Crowell and Schiff to pay off a drug debt to Schiff. When she tried to leave, Schiff told her he would “chop her up into little pieces and throw her in the river.”
“No one should be victimized by the kind of brutality and violence that happened in this case,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “We’re focused on taking on and taking down human trafficking wherever we find it in our Commonwealth.”